Methane From Oil and Gas Operations, Update

Another Trump Rollback

A quick and depressing update to my post yesterday about methane emissions from oil and gas operations.  According to the NY Times, the Trump administration “will aim to eliminate federal requirements that oil and gas companies install technology to inspect for and fix methane leaks from wells, pipelines and storage facilities.”  This, to use a legal term, is moronic.  The oil and gas industry did not request the rollback and doesn’t need it.  They can sell the captured methane and cover the cost of the capture technology.

It does underscore my point, however.  Climate solutions exist, but implementation is hard.  It is especially hard when climate deniers run the federal government.  California and other states will continue to enforce methane capture requirements, and, ironically, the oil industry lead Oil and Gas Climate Initiative will continue its effort to reduce methane emissions.  But on one of the most obvious and financially viable set of actions to curb greenhouse gases and the impacts of climate change, we are about to take a big step further towards the cliff.

Reader Comments

2 Replies to “Methane From Oil and Gas Operations, Update”

  1. It makes a world of sense to control methane emissions from O&G operations, not only from the point of view of the environment, and saving product, but small leaks can and frequently do become large ones and a large enough methane leak causes spectacular fires and explosions; even a “little” natural gas fire will become a big one as seals cook off, etc. Anyone who thinks rolling back regulations is a good idea has never seen a natural gas blowout and fire.

    A newish item on an alternative source of methane; anoxic water caused by various types of pollution is: https://e360.yale.edu/digest/worsening-algae-blooms-could-significantly-increase-global-methane-emissions

  2. Hmm, do “climate deniers run the federal government,” or are they selfish, don’t-care-if-it’s-more-money-for-us assholes? Or cowardly, don’t-want-to-go-first (if the rest of the world isn’t doing it) assholes? I think they know what methane does.

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Ken is the director of Project Climate at UC Berkeley's Center for Law, Energy, & Environment. He spent eight years as a Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Jerry Brow…

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